Praise for sub-editors (note hyphen)

By Steven Downes
This is a true story. I was working on the features desk of what was then a leading national broadsheet, spending longer than ought to have been necessary in eliminating basic errors and generally re-working a particularly trite piece of commentary.

In the process, my every mouse move and click was watched by a bright young thing from Oxbridge, who was being shown the business (presumably before being given a massive leader-writer’s salary in a couple of months’ time). The headline finished, the “Send” button clicked, my shadow asked his one and only question.

“Where do the real journalists sit?”

For those who still do not quite understand the role of the sub-editor (note this websites’s preference for the use of the hyphen), let us recommend Kim Fletcher’s latest Media Guardian column, In praise of the subeditor, including what appears to be a glitch in the final para. (Now there’s the question: was this the result of a mistyping by the author, which ought to have been spotted by the sub? Or is it something the sub introduced to the copy? Poor old subs… they can never win).

And post your views on subs and writers, and your best anecdotes, in the Comment box below.

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